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Toy Story 4 - Spoiler-free review

Nathan Strum


Well, that was weird.


No, not the movie. My last blog post.


Well, not the post, but the way it got posted.


It used to be, that when you posted a new blog entry, it would move to the top of the main blog page.


But mine didn't. It stayed down at the bottom, right below Eric Ball's latest entry:




The weird thing is, I posted my entry on August 10:




And Eric had posted his on July 10:




And uh...


Wait. Why did the blog software make that graphic so big? It's huge!!


Give me a minute here.


(Several annoying minutes and edits later...)


Okay. So, one of the things I hate about high resolution monitors, is that everything arbitrarily scales things to the size they think they "should" be. This includes screenshots in whatever Apple OS I'm using this week. It used to be a pixel was a pixel. Now you're just guessing at what size things may or may not display at.


And this brings up another problem with Invision's lousy blog software (in case you're wondering what I'm talking about, hang in there a minute...).


You see, for the most part, I link directly to image files I use in my blog, rather than uploading them. This way I can simply replace files in my FTP folder when I want to update something.

But not anymore.


Now, Invision's stupid blog software cache's its own local version of a linked file. So when I upload a new one, it doesn't change.


And it's not my browser cache either, because I cleared that. And I also confirmed this in another browser that I hadn't even logged into AtariAge with. If this looks twice as large as the other one, then you're seeing Invision's stupid caching:




Because if you open the actual image link in another window, you'll see the actual size of the file:




(Here's a screenshot, since this will probably eventually be fixed accidentally by Invision or the cache will randomly expire):




In order to update the screenshot to the smaller version, I had to rename, re-upload and replace it.


That completely defeats the purpose of linking to the FILE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!




Yeah, I'm on another Invision rant.


You may have missed the last one, because instead of putting that blog entry at the top, it buried it amongst the older entries. Like I was mentioning before.


That entry, by the way, was a movie review. But it devolved into a rant about Invision's stupid blog software. But clearly, Invision doesn't care about blogs, because they've now been relegated to a submenu under Apps, rather than having their own link. Thanks, Invision.




So, why did my other post get posted out-of-order? Well, if I had to guess, it was probably because I didn't click "Immediately" for "Publish Time". I had saved it while working on it, so the time stamp was a little bit earlier than "Immediately" would've been. Since the blogs no longer list when entries were actually posted, but just show "Latest", I'm guessing the time stamp is screwed-up, or missing, or whatever.


So this time, I'll click "Immediately" and see what happens. Why not? should be fun.

Anyway, onto the movie review.

As with Spider-Man: Far From Home, I actually saw this a few weeks ago while on vacation, but never got around to typing up a review for it.


Actually though, I never planned on seeing it in the first place.


You see, I'm kind of done with Pixar. And Toy Story. I'm just tired of them.


When I saw Toy Story 3, I really, really liked it and...






I did NOT put that in there. Now admittedly, that would've been a pretty funny joke. But I have no idea where that came from!!!




Maybe I need to move my blog. MySpace is still a thing, right?




Okay... let's try and finish this.


So, I really liked Toy Story 3 when I saw it in theaters.


But the weird thing is, I never re-watched it. Whenever it comes on TV, I avoid it. Not ignore - avoid. Why? Well, I'm just kind of tired of those characters. Oversaturated with them. And the movie, while it does have some really funny moments, in hindsight the emotional stuff is all a bit cloying and manipulative now. I still think Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are really good movies (although they're starting to look pretty dated now), but that's because they were still exploring new ideas. But with Toy Story 3, it was the whole unloved/lost/abandoned/Woody-is-all-angsty toy schtick again. But it closed out the series, and that was fine. The toys were in good hands, happy ending, the end.


Of course, Disney wasn't going to let it end there. They became sequel-happy. And the sequels have been ridiculously successful, with Toy Story 3, Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory each earning over $1 billion worldwide. In fact, now including Toy Story 4, the only Pixar movies that have cleared a billion dollars worldwide have been sequels. Sure, Pixar has recently said that they won't be doing any more sequels, but don't you believe it.


I never bothered seeing Cars 3 or Finding Dory, but even beyond the sequels, I've grown weary of Pixar's original films as well. The Good Dinosaur was a train wreck, Inside Out did nothing for me (and I've never re-watched it), and I didn't think much of Coco either and... wait, WHY IS THERE A YOUTUBE VIDEO IN THE MIDDLE OF MY COCO REVIEW?!?! Oh right... that used to be a link, and Invision arbitrarily decided to turn it into an embedded video.






You know, writing movie reviews didn't used to be this difficult.


Anyway, so... I'm tired of Toy Story, Pixar, blah, blah, blah.


But we needed something to go see during vacation, and there was nothing else in the theaters worth seeing (I'd already seen Spider-Man), so we figured Toy Story 4 was well-reviewed enough to justify seeing.


And it was okay. It was well-animated. Had some funny scenes. And the new characters: Forky, Ducky and Bunny really need to get their own road-trip movie. Seriously - I'd pay good money to see that.


But I'm just tired of Woody and his endlessly repeating need to re-learn some valuable life lesson. It's just worn thin.


To the writers' credit, they did come up with an interesting take on the whole "lost toy" idea, but by far the most interesting character in the film was Forky, and they didn't spend nearly enough time delving into what makes him tick. They touch on it here and there, and it makes for some of the best scenes in the film (including a scene during the credits that's almost worth the price of admission), but just as they get into it, it becomes about Woody again. As for the rest of the Toy Story characters, they were effectively relegated to support roles, when they showed up at all. And yes, that includes Buzz. In Toy Story 3, his gimmick was that he was reset and spoke Spanish. In this one, he has another gimmick related to his digitized voice, and given how long the character has been around, it seems he's actually regressed in this film, from where we would expect him to be.


They did bring back Bo Peep who had been missing after Toy Story 2, and we get to find out a little bit about what she's been up to. But again, this is Woody's film, and even her story becomes about him. So while she probably has a really interesting story to tell, it becomes more about his reactions to where she is now, than giving her the center stage. It almost seems a little like they're pandering to girls in the audience, without really following through with the character in any meaningful way.


Speaking of pandering, that's the only way I can describe the ending of the villain's story in this film. It was shlocky and lazy. It's like someone saw an early Pixar movie, and decided they wanted to copy the feeling they got from watching it without understanding how it was accomplished.


As an aside, there was just some weird stuff in this movie, too. Previously, the toys didn't impact the world around them much or interact with people directly (except Woody's line to Sid at the end of the first film), and the movie even alludes to those being rules that aren't allowed to be broken in a couple of really funny scenes with Ducky and Bunny. But then near the end of the film, the toys completely throw those rules out the window in a really big way. It just doesn't fit in with the established Toy Story universe, and it seems like a lazy solution to a story problem the writers found themselves in.

Toy Story 4 would've been a better film if it were used as a vehicle to pass the torch to the next generation of characters (as mentioned, Forky, Ducky and Bunny were standouts), but this was more like Toy Story 2.5, than Toy Story 4. It's not that it's a bad film, but it missed its best opportunities to be something new and different.


Toy Story 4 gets a 6/10. But in hindsight, I'll probably look back at it and think I should've given it a 4 or 5. That always happens when I go back and look at old movie reviews. I often score a movie I've seen in the theater higher than I otherwise would, probably because the theatrical experience enhances my perception of the film. Maybe having waited a few weeks to write this review will have tempered that somewhat, but these are pretty-much the thoughts I had when I was leaving the theater.


Maybe 5.5 would be better.


Recommended Comments

Okay... it's still not at the top, in this view (and yes, I'm sorting by Last Entry):




But it is at the top in the stupid, generally useless, grid view:




This is really diminishing my interest in blogging.


I'd probably write an Artie the Atari cartoon about it, but then I'd have to try and publish it, and it's not worth the headache.

Edited by Nathan Strum
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Is it because I posted a comment?


This entry was halfway down the page (in two browsers) after I published it.


I give up.


Maybe I'll just post a link to a plain text file in my Status Update when I want to blog something.


I'm going to go watch a movie.


I wonder if Toy Story 3 is on TV...

Edited by Nathan Strum
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14 minutes ago, Mike Harris said:

Picture perfect is great for Skyrim or Fallout only destroys animated cartoons.

I have no idea what any of that means...

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39 minutes ago, Nathan Strum said:

I have no idea what any of that means...

Toy Story 4 was picture quality animation which ruins....never mind.

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